#422

Skunk Works: How To Become An Inventor

Monday, April 26th 2021, 5:47:52 pm

"Lady doth protest too much, for rather, is easier to be an inventor,
than not to be one."
- William F. Shakespeare.
 
The world is your oyster,
the components with which you invent things are all around you.
You do not want to invent complicated things,
but rather improve the things that people are used to.
 
To give a few examples,
of amazing findings.
Samsung's Exploding Batteries,
was quite an eye opener.
It taught me, that hardware is second,
it is a bad idea to manufacture your own hardware.
It is best to encourage many companies to develop the hardware,
and than just make sure that your operating system of choice runs on it.
And the operating system of choice today is postmarketOS,
which is based on Alpine Linux and comes with multiple UI styles.
 
The RaspberryPI, it is the modern Commodore 64,
it is the development machine, and it hasn't got a single flaw.
Single board computers of today,
will change the future.
Plus,
they will power the thing I am about to mention next.
 
Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant, are a step in the right direction,
but a very small step, unfortunately.
But the way these technologies made it into our homes,
is an amazing idea.
 
And before I go further, let me just emphasize,
that you are a programmer without a language.
We have Zapier and IFTTT, to some degree Automator,
but like the Assistants Above this is a tiny step.
The average person,
deserves a programming language.
 
And now, imagine what I would call an Agent Network,
an anthropomorphized internet of things, where hardware devices are dressed up as assistants.
And hang out in a chat-room together,
the use of bots in chartooms is nothing new, and that is good, you want to invent as little as possible.
The bots can talk to each other in the chat room,
Siri, can get Alexa to reorder things, and Cortana can get the Roomba going.
But that is the least of it,
all we did in this example, was to reduce the bloated technologies.
Here we are replacing IFTTT,
with some bots that issue commands and some bots that execute them.
 
The real fun comes in when you replace your thermostat with a Rasperry PI,
and give it a human name to turn it into another assistant that Siri, for example can talk to.
 
This gets us to a point, where there exist a chat-room with multiple robots,
that can list the commands they understand, and the commands will be in plain English.
You control which bots are in which chat room,
this serves as a security and customization mechanism.
At this point, we add a new robot,
one with a programming language that is easy to understand and mange.
This would be a WikiWikiWeb like program,
that revolves around the EventEmitter pattern.
Here user can create text pages,
but also event-handler pages, that conveniently list what emits events and what listen to them under the "What Links Here?" section.
One of the most useful events here is incoming-text which would be coming in from the chat-room IN ENGLISH,
and here a GUI interface would help the user either drop the message, or do something with it.
Sometimes that something could be as simple as
conditionally contributing to the ongoing bot conversation in the chat-room.
So the Thermostat Bot, lets call her Amber,
could report that that she is about to turn the heat on because it is only 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let us create a new bot, let us call her Bia, named after the Greek goddess of force, anger and raw energy
and she will be responsible for conserving energy when nobody is home.
Bia will respond to Amber to delay that order,
until human presence is detected in the house, by the security system.
And programming this only deals with selecting Amber,
as the bot to listen to, entering the text to monitor for which in this case is:
"I am about to turn the heat on because it is only * degrees Fahrenheit",
Exiting the program early,
if the security bot Ansel reports human presence,
And if the program keeps going this far,
then issuing a delay order to Amber.
 
This is a very simple programming language,
that revolves around basic input forms and easy to read text.
Most of this would already be preset by the publisher,
but it is still accessible and understandable by the user.
This whole thing requires nothing more,
than a chat room, and a vision beyond a single assistant.
 
Imagine that couple returning from a weekend vacation,
noticing the long conversation log between Amber and Bia...
...and modifying Amber's code to directly speak with Ansel,
the security bot that keeps track of presence of humans in the house.
 
What we are doing here,
is bringing every program under the same interface, the interface of Chat and Text.
You can still play computer games,
and browse the internet with the latest browser.
But there is also an IRC server,
where the robots in your house talk to each other.
And EventEmitter flavored WikiWikiWeb,
designed to outlast the house, designed long term operations.
 
There is never a problem with remembering what robots are in the house,
as they all hang out in the lobby of the chat system.
And it is not always necessary to program a thing,
sometimes just logging in and typing in "@Amber Turn the heat up to 73" will suffice.
 
In conclusion, to think like an inventor,
look around you, the things that surround you, are the things that you manipulate to create something new.
Never complicate things,
simplify them, you can't improve something by making it more complex.
Don't be evil, don't be small minded,
life is too short for shallow thinking.
Your inventions, or independent-inventions,
as little as caps that you put on laces in sweat pants so that you can pull the lace out should one be pulled in by the washer.
Or as big as big as the invention of a human readable programming language,
belong in your thick portfolio.
Just imagine, shiny heavy covers with an intricate high resolution generative art graphic on the front,
and your smiling face on the back... and maybe on the front too, why the heck not.
Don't think of it as your portfolio,
but as a book of your inventions that also doubles as the portfolio.
You don't have to give TED talks,
and these days you don't even need a publisher, just Printing On Demand.
And remember to think of the leading companies as your private research laboratories,
pay attention to what they are doing where they are failing, and especially their shortcomings.
The business world is a dog scratch dog world,
when you become world's most famous inventor, all of those companies will own and and study a copy of your portfolio.
Oh, and one more thing,
always put a "Don't be evil" clause in your legal paperwork.
Once the lawyers start calling you if that part can be removed...
just say, no, and hang up.

#422: Skunk Works: How To Become An Inventor

Monday, April 26th 2021, 5:47:52 pm

Links